Travelling to make photographs can be challenging. One of the big tasks is figuring out what to pack. You want to pack as little as possible, but you don’t want to leave vital gear at home. In this video, landscape photographer Thomas Heaton talks about the equipment he’s travelled with to spend time shooting landscapes in Hawaii.
Thomas is very clear. This isn’t “travel photography”, this is “travelling to do photography” and there’s a difference. It’s not the kind of kit you’d want to pack for a trek up a mountain. There just wouldn’t be enough room left in the bag for all the extra kit you’d want. But, it is a handy set of gear for travelling between wherever you’re staying and wherever you’re going to shoot.
When you see the amount of gear Thomas can stuff into those bags, you understand why this isn’t really suitable for what we typically class as “travel photography”. But, you can always take a smaller bag with you for those lighter travelling days just wandering around and being a tourist.
One thing Thomas mentions early on in the video is that there really is no one bag for everything. I’ve come to realise that myself over the last couple of decades, too. I have maybe 15 different bags at the moment that I use for photography, and each has their purpose. Each shines in different situations with different gear requirements.
Thomas favours the Manfrotto Off Road hiking backpack and the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW on this particular trip. Personally, if I’m travelling somewhere to shoot, I’ll often use a Vango Sherpa 65 Rucksack. It has a ton of capacity, but feels really light on your back even when full. If I don’t need to pack light stands, I’ll use a Tamrac Cyberpack 6 (this is also my go-to bag for taking video gear to a location to shoot).
As well as the gear Thomas needs for his photography, he’s also a pretty prolific vlogger, too. So, he talks us through his new vlogging camera, the Canon G5X.
It’s a video that really starts to make you wonder about what you pack. I know I’ve tended to take far more gear out to a location in the past than I’ll actually use “just in case”. I’ve managed to start catching myself doing it the last couple of years, and really tried to minimise what I carry. And almost all of those “just in case” items I always used to take, I’ve rarely actually had a surprise need for.
What are some of your favourite camera bags? What type of photography do you use them for? What do you pack into them? Were there things Thomas took with him that surprised you? Anything you thought he was missing from his list? Besides your camera & lens, what’s the most essential bit of kit in your bags? Tell us what you think in the comments.